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sphyrth

Strike Tactics - Learning from the Mistakes of Feudal Wars

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If you remember Feudal Wars (and how it failed), the main developer didn't give up trying to make a great RTS.

I'll try my best to follow this game... especially the dev logs. It has one entry where he praised 0 A.D.'s artistic realism while stating that it has become detrimental to gameplay (Forum-ception: His article quoted a thread on this forum, and now I'm indirectly quoting him back).

 

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http://striketactics.net/devblog

Quote

 

Visuals:

January 26, 2017Chris

RTS games need to convey continues streams of highly detailed information in realtime to the player. Sometimes, fancy graphics and design gets in the way of that. Take a look at this screenshot from the RTS game 0 AD:

0_A.D._game_screenshot_Video_Preview.jpg

No doubt the scene is impressive with high amounts of detail and lots of action - but I'd venture to say this high level of detail is detrimental to gameplay.

Consider the following questions: How many units are fighting each other? How many units are on each side? Which sides are fighting? Which soldiers are melee and which are ranged?

Your brain needs to answer these questions in a matter of milliseconds. Even if it takes 100 milliseconds longer to mentally process, due to the visual complexity, it has a profound effect on the experience of playing an RTS game. If you have difficulty believing that, try playing a game in which user input is processed after a delay of 100 milliseconds. We've all experienced what that's like in an online game with moderate latency. Visual complexity, too much of it, creates a sort of mental latency.

 

 

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True. 0 A.D. was the prime example given. He also said (in the same article) that AoE3 fell into the same trap. And Starcraft II was more successful in this area.

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....If I were an alien from outer space, and had nothing to go on but the screenshots from AOE2 and AOE3, I might think AOE2 was the newest game in the series. Poor adoption of 3D realtime is a technological backpedal from using 2D sprites.

... I do not mean to say 3D realtime has no place in RTS gaming. I only want to suggest that it is much more difficult to make a proper RTS game with 3D realtime. Starcraft 2, a game rendered in 3d realtime, has absolutely none of the visual problems 0 AD has. But Starcraft 2 is expertly designed by the people who wrote the book on RTS - it succeeds visually, in spite of the difficulties of 3D realtime, not necessarily beacuse of it. The high poly 3D models, the level of contrast between terrain and units, the overall visual distinctiveness of game objects and anisotropic filtering all work together. No wonder it took 5 years and 12,000 builds to make. SC2, and the original Total Annihilation, are the only two 3D realtime RTS games that have stood the test of time - in my book, at least.

 

Edited by sphyrth
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Having played Aoe3 competitively for some years, I can say for sure that it didn't have such problem. Units are easily distinguishable. And units selected in a group move and attack in formation automatically. So there is no clumping of units.

 

For 0AD this is real because of realistic art. Most units look similar from a distance. And in absence of working formation are clumped together. 

An implementation of Soft or Hard Battallions will only go half way to correct this. Instead of modifying artwork, we can have a floating transluscent spear, or sword or arrow over the centre of a formation. To indicate the type of unit. 

This will preserve the realistic and beautiful artwork and still make gameplay smooth.

Edited by drsingh
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Yeah I never think enjoy of realistic Roman units in a RTS. For example.

 

Quote

No doubt the scene is impressive with high amounts of detail and lots of action - but I'd venture to say this high level of detail is detrimental to gameplay.

This can be arguable.

If the interface is helping there? He isn't showing that. So is unfair.

but he was right if this happens and units are in total control.

 

If i have units in properly formation of batttalion. The one difference is the formation not the graphic, both graphics shows a 3D scene.( even if one is a 2D game using 3D sprites).

Other 

280.png

Make same with this image, oh surprise...

dessicated_village.jpg 

If im very unfamiliar with units,mis obviusly I can play this when this happens.

 

All is about control units, that why we are planning have better the game.

I can even show you it's not fancy graphic fault, is design conceptual gameplay and even pooor decisions in art.

 

 

Other example from AoE 2 this time a mod.

10541810.jpg

Even the mess is with houses.

10658886_710786742347992_764589575882789

2D sprite graphics( from 3D render) in same engine ( genie engine)

now look at this.

vGqFIdLFyM8lfl7MIIQGvOpOKRuCTnIo_o.jpg

totally fancy graphic with a better control units.

 

 

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This isn't a real problem, to an extent.

Sufficiently skilled players will not get into mosh-pit engagements, because that's not really efficient, and will hotkey/select their units by types to micro them even if they don't know where exactly they are. Targeting the enemy unit can take more than 100ms since you'll need to think about it anyways. This is obvious when you see AoE 2 expert players. It's also always easier to count your units by selecting them all and seeing the number the game gives you than trying to count them (likewise with health and health bars).

If your games has formation fighting, it's basically irrelevant because you don't need to recognise units instantly, it's not a MOBA.

Finally, comparing still images is ignoring animations entirely, which are a key component of recognising units at a glance.

 

I think I remember the original thread that was written about recognising things, and it was more about buildings looking too different across civilisations than it was about units. 0 A.D. also has a problem with seeing units/entities at all, not specifically differentiating them, as they tend to blend in the terrain too much.

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Lol. I guess I did it again.

Here's what I can say. When I was starting out with 0 A.D., I did have trouble finding my own starting units:
women are quite tiny, and the only easy way to find my own units is by looking at their shields (even now, Carthage's shields are easiest to pick up).

As time goes by, as I was learning the game, I have no problem finding my units even if they're in the middle of a fighthing mosh pit. So learning can be a factor to which you can distinguish units in a game. My only real pet peeve is that some color palettes blend too much with the surroundings and the mini-map (green, orange, black, and even white).

The irony of it all is that I think Strike Tactics is currently failing at its own thesis (I will not give it a pass even if it's pre-alpha). Looking at the first video in the OP: the color of the units are so similar that it's easy to lose track what's going on... even if I can differentiate between the economy and the military units. With all units moving around like that it's just messy for my eyes.

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7 hours ago, sphyrth said:

My only real pet peeve is that some color palettes blend too much with the surroundings and the mini-map (green, orange, black, and even white).

Yeah that's a real issue for 0 A.D. (I find bushes can be particularly easy to miss), but imo not really the one described above.

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Okay. I think the color palettes are much better now.
Less unnecessary movements (before, the economic units flying in a circle was an eyesore to me).
Build time and possibly resource-gathering slowed down while the military action was fast.
Almost every military unit is a "walking turret".

The game now looks fun.

 

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I had to watch it in slow-mo to confirm. If we ignore the splash, everyone was hitting static units with pin-point accuracy. I guess dodging is the vital part of the combat system.

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On 14/03/2017 at 5:09 PM, wraitii said:

This isn't a real problem, to an extent.

Sufficiently skilled players will not get into mosh-pit engagements, because that's not really efficient, and will hotkey/select their units by types to micro them even if they don't know where exactly they are.

What about fatigue ? Sure if you're skilled you can always work it out. But if after playing 0AD for 20 minutes you're as tired as if you had played AoE for 60 minutes, this is a point to consider.

I had the exact same reflexion in FPSes. In OpenArena the models can be very hard to distinguish from the background, but if I increase the screen backlight, try not to blink and stay perfectly focused on the details, I can be as good as I am in Nexuiz. Problem is : after 15 minutes of it I'm as tired as if I had played Nexuiz in normal conditions for an hour.

On 14/03/2017 at 5:09 PM, wraitii said:

Targeting the enemy unit can take more than 100ms since you'll need to think about it anyways.

It's not just about targeting the enemy unit. It's about seeing the threat, take the decision on how to respond depending on what you see, selecting your units, and targeting the enemy unit. Being able to see quickly *and* accurately is very important because all the rest of the tactical action depends on it.

On 14/03/2017 at 5:09 PM, wraitii said:

It's also always easier to count your units by selecting them all and seeing the number the game gives you than trying to count them (likewise with health and health bars).

If your games has formation fighting, it's basically irrelevant because you don't need to recognise units instantly, it's not a MOBA.

Agreeing on both points.

On 14/03/2017 at 5:09 PM, wraitii said:

Finally, comparing still images is ignoring animations entirely, which are a key component of recognising units at a glance.

An animation takes longer than a glance.

On 14/03/2017 at 5:09 PM, wraitii said:

I think I remember the original thread that was written about recognising things, and it was more about buildings looking too different across civilisations than it was about units. 0 A.D. also has a problem with seeing units/entities at all, not specifically differentiating them, as they tend to blend in the terrain too much.

Yes.

Edited by serveurix
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On 3/14/2017 at 10:01 PM, sphyrth said:

The irony of it all is that I think Strike Tactics is currently failing at its own thesis (I will not give it a pass even if it's pre-alpha). Looking at the first video in the OP: the color of the units are so similar that it's easy to lose track what's going on... even if I can differentiate between the economy and the military units. With all units moving around like that it's just messy for my eyes.

Yes, it's funny because if you take static screenshot of his game you don't know what the hell you're looking at either. lol What makes one mech and obvious econ unit and another an obvious military unit? The economic "pod" mechs could be kamikaze units or something for all I would know from a dense, static screenshot.

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On 3/14/2017 at 2:36 AM, drsingh said:

An implementation of Soft or Hard Battallions will only go half way to correct this. Instead of modifying artwork, we can have a floating transluscent spear, or sword or arrow over the centre of a formation. To indicate the type of unit. 

 

I had the idea of extending the Tab key. Right now, depress the Tab and you see the health bars of all your units. What if the Tab is more of a toggle and it toggle on other things too, like the floaty icons you propose and various range graphics. Likely too busy to play that way for the whole match, but would be useful, 10 seconds at a time for the player to plan better or get snapshot of what's going on.

Edited by wowgetoffyourcellphone
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Instead of units constantly checking if the node they are about to walk to is occupied, the units simply maintain relative distance from each other when they walk. The only nodes which are marked as unwalkable are the start and end destinations.


0 A.D.'s pathfinder works differently, but I don't know what you dev guys think of this pathfinder Strike Tactics is using.

 

http://striketactics.net/devblog/starcraft-1-pathfinding-technical-analysis

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following this thread .

https://forums.ageofempires.com/t/up-to-date-rts-economy-and-base-build-for-aoe4-a-possible-task/42527

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Up-to-date RTS Economy and Base Build for AoE4, a possible task ?

Well there is a rumour for a soon reveal and I kind of concerned,
shortly after showing first pics, it will be simply too fast released
and all RTS developers in last decade kind of did forget to make a functional up-to-date base build economy.

Let’s define first this mechanics, so “economy is about gain the resources to buy units and build buildings.”

Problem with RTS games today, at their very, very foundation its just not fun to play them, you are always reminded how older games had there a better design. Each time I try a new RTS, I just return most of the time to something made in 2D era, simply because those games have a better base build.

Literally, after RTS changed from 2D into 3D, they simply mess up Basebuild.

1- most games simply don’t provide you with necessary supplies
2- most games simply don’t provide you with space to build your base
3- most games simply don’t provide you with a building variety,
to make it an actual part of the gameplay

I don’t see how “unit combat mechanics” alone are supposed to drag people interest into a genre, that was founded around actually build a large functional infrastructure.

Problem is, we have simply on one hand people who are bad at play games and them have too much influence on it.

Sure we have also the pressure to cut cost and make games simple,
but fighting with controls to find space to place ten or twenty immobile objects and wait in-between several minutes, is for somebody used to play RTS simply embarrassing.

Each RTS that included base build, was just bad at this, here simply a list of my observation

 

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